Andrew Litton, conductor
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March 12, 2017

Conductor Andrew Litton leaving Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest after 2017 season

This Sommerfest will be Andrew Litton's last. The Minnesota Orchestra announced Friday that Litton — the longest-serving leader of the orchestra's annual summer festival — will step aside.

"The musicians are absolutely extraordinary," he said Thursday by phone from Spain. "It's been great to grow up together — to grow old together." Litton laughed.

But, after 15 years, "there comes a time when you suddenly think, Maybe I've done everything I can bring to the table."

This year's festival, which runs from July 3 to Aug. 5, will salute Litton with some of his favorite works, closest friends — including pianists William Wolfram and André Watts — and latest inspirations. In 2015, Litton became music director of the New York City Ballet, "which has yielded a bunch of fun discoveries for me."

So he decided to base this year's Sommerfest on dance, including an Aug. 4 program of George Gershwin's Who Cares?, a George Balanchine ballet that will feature four dancers from the New York troupe.

The festival will end as Litton has long insisted: with an opera. This year, it's Richard Strauss' Salome, which Litton calls "one of my all-time favorite operas."